Allen Tinkham is increasingly recognized as one of the most gifted and exciting conductors of his generation. The Chicago Tribune predicts Allen to "one day...garner a major U.S. podium of his own" while noting he is currently one of Chicago's most important "educators, mentors and inspirational guides in the training of tomorrow's orchestral professionals." Currently Music Director of the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, he oversees all artistic programming and faculty for the institution whose ensembles include five orchestras and an extensive chamber music program. Tinkham leads the Symphony Orchestra and Encore Chamber Orchestra of CYSO each season in performances throughout Chicago at Orchestra Hall in Symphony Center, Priztker Pavilion at Millennium Park and Ravinia. He has also led four tours to wide acclaim in the US, Europe, and South America including concerts in New York, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Prague, Budapest, Leipzig, Warsaw and Vienna. Under his leadership, The Chicago Tribune has praised Tinkham for working "wonders" with concerts performed at a "professional-level." Under his baton, The Chicago Tribune has compared the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra’s “ferocity and theatricality” to that of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to his post with the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra, Tinkham serves as a cover conductor for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and as Assistant Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the Welcome Yule! Series. Recent guest conducting engagements include the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra, Dubuque Symphony Orchestra, Racine Symphony Orchestra, Elmhurst Symphony Orchestra, and Kansas City Symphony Orchestra. Prior to his appointment in Chicago, Tinkham served as Apprentice Conductor of the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, where he conducted on the subscription series and mentored under Music Director James DePreist.
Tinkham received a Bachelor of Music with Distinction in a Double Major of Theory and Double Bass from the Eastman School of Music and a Master of Music from the University of Michigan in Orchestral Conducting. At the University of Michigan he served as Music Director of both the Campus Symphony and Philharmonia orchestras and received the Helen and Clyde Wu Conducting Fellowship, the youngest conductor to receive these distinctions. He continued his conducting studies for many summers at the American Academy of Conducting in Aspen and at the Conductors Retreat at Medomak. Tinkham’s principal teachers include David Effron, Murry Sidlin, and Kenneth Kiesler, and he has also studied with David Zinman and James DePriest.